Colorado River Horseshoe Bend
As the Colorado river meandered southward toward the sea, it always chose the steepest downward slope. This downward journey did not always occur in a straight line, and sometimes the river made wide circles and meanders. As the Colorado Plateau uplifted about 5 million years ago, the rivers that meandered across the ancient landscape were trapped in their beds. The rivers cut through the rock, deep and fast, seeking a new natural level. At Horseshoe Bend, the Colorado River cut down through the layers of sandstone and created a 270° horseshoe-shaped bend in the canyon. Students can visit the site and learn more about the processes at work.